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The nation in brief

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | February 11, 2021 at 3:42 a.m.

3 castaways saved from Atlantic isle

MIAMI -- Two men and a woman said they had lost track of days as they survived on a diet of coconuts, conchs and rats for more than a month after they were cast away on a deserted island between Florida and Cuba.

U.S. Coast Guard officials said the trio from Cuba told them their boat had capsized in rough waters and they were able to swim to Anguilla Cay, where they spent 33 days before they were spotted and rescued.

The uninhabited island of rocky ground and palm trees and shrubs is part of an atoll of the Bahamas.

The Coast Guard initially dropped some water and a radio to be able to communicate. Later on Monday, another crew flew back to bring more supplies.

They were rescued on Tuesday morning and taken to the Lower Keys Medical Center with no serious injuries.

The U.S. Border Patrol took custody of the three Cubans, who were taken to a facility in Pompano Beach, the Coast Guard said. Immigration officials did not immediately say whether they would be deported.

Tennessee family-leave push dropped

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday he won't revive his push from early last year to offer paid family leave for state workers.

Last January, Lee announced an executive order to offer up to 12 weeks of annual paid family leave for state workers who become parents, have to care for a family member or experience other life-altering events.

The policy, however, never took effect after Lee received a cool reception from fellow Republicans in the GOP-supermajority Legislature and backed off the order, saying he would instead implore lawmakers to pursue some version of paid family leave through a bill, possibly scaling back what had been announced. When the covid-19 pandemic hit, that idea and plenty of other proposals were sidelined in favor of a narrower focus for lawmakers.

Last year, Lee's administration had touted the family leave plan as nonpartisan -- and necessary to reduce employee turnover rates and help address health care costs.

While Lee said lawmakers may offer a paid family leave bill again this year, it won't be his administration's priority after it set new priorities in the wake of the pandemic.

Exec guilty in admissions bribe case

BOSTON -- A former private equity executive who cofounded an investment firm with U2's Bono pleaded guilty Wednesday to paying $50,000 to have someone secretly correct his son's ACT answers as part of the college admissions bribery scheme.

William McGlashan pleaded guilty to a count of wire fraud and honest services wire fraud before a Boston federal court judge in a hearing held via videoconference. A federal judge said he'd review a presentencing report before deciding whether to accept a plea deal that calls for McGlashan to serve three months behind bars.

Under McGlashan's plea deal, he would have the chance to withdraw his guilty plea if he prevails on an appeal of a judge's ruling rejecting a motion to dismiss. He has also agreed to complete 250 hours of community service and pay a $250,000 fine.

McGlashan is the 30th parent to plead guilty in what investigators said was a scheme in which wealthy parents paid big money to get their kids into elite schools with fake athletic credentials or rigged exam scores.

Lawyer threatened senators, U.S. says

A Pennsylvania lawyer threatened to kill Democrats in the U.S. Senate and was on his way to Washington, D.C., with firearms and a "large amount of ammunition" when he was stopped by state police, federal prosecutors said Wednesday in announcing charges.

Kenelm Shirk III, 71, of Lebanon, was indicted Feb. 3 on a charge of threatening to murder a U.S. official. He pleaded innocent at his initial court appearance and was locked up pending trial.

Shirk was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police at a gas station near Shippensburg on Jan. 21, the day after Joe Biden was inaugurated president and a little more than two weeks after a violent, pro-Donald Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. A search of Shirk's car recovered an AR-15 rifle, two handguns and a box of ammunition, according to police.

Police began looking for Shirk after his ex-wife reported he had threatened to kill her as well as government officials in the Washington area, according to an affidavit filed in state court.

Shirk's attorney, Jay Abom, said that the incident began as a domestic dispute, adding that "Despite appearances and accusations, he never intended to hurt or kill anyone," Abom said.


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